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Grandma's Kitchen: 5 Natural Flu Remedies

Staying healthy and minimizing flu symptoms with natural herbs.

Have you been taken out “yet” by the demon menace, the FLU?

You just may be able to tap dance around it, or avoid or minimize the horrors of it entirely by choosing a natural path. Before penicillin and flu shots, our grandmother who lived to be 92 (and also was famous for saying, “That exercise is going to kill you!” –we forgave her for that) firmly believed that natural was better. 

Evelyn ate garlic every day in some form and in 92 years never suffered a day with the flu.  She was born in 1918, the year of the Spanish Flu Pandemic that killed 50 million people worldwide and went on to live through every other major U.S. flu season without so much as a sniffle. 

Evelyn swore by garlic, both as a spice and a remedy along with apple cider vinegar in warm water and she said, “The proof is in the pudding, I don’t get the flu!”

With all of the sneezing and coughing going on around us, why not try the safety net of herbal cures that might be sitting right in your spice rack?

1.) Garlic – Our great grandmother actually hung her strings of garlic cloves in the kitchen.  It may keep away vampires, but it is also a great remedy for colds and viral infections. Garlic can be taken in capsule form, crushed or roasted. No need to overdo.

2.) Apple Cider Vinegar – Itchy throat or dry hacking coughs? Mix two teaspoons of Bragg’s organic Apple Cider Vinegar with a glass of warm water. This can help with flu symptoms, especially upper respiratory. Apple Cider vinegar also helps remove toxins if used as a regular regime.

3.) Cayenne Pepper – Cayenne Pepper has been known to have properties that aid everything from fatigue to psoriasis.  However, as anyone who regularly imbibes in spicy food can attest, it aids in breaking up and expelling congestion and mucous from the body, which can help relieve flu symptoms.

4.) Turmeric – Turmeric is a rare spice in the Western diet, but it is quite common in Indian food. We like to put a pinch of this natural antiseptic/anti viral into our egg salad.

5.) Ginger – When we were small and had a tummy ache, Evelyn was Johnny on the spot (her words) with a can of Ginger Ale. Who knew that the ginger ale that made us feel better was actually derived from a root that was used for more than 2,000 years to treat the cold, flu, headaches and nausea? Caffeine-free ginger tea might be just the ticket!

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water daily and continue exercising throughout the flu season. Remember the benefits of being adjusted (chiropractic) and regular massage! One final word – If your grandmother tried to wrestle you to the ground to take a spoonful of castor oil – well, she may not have been punishing you, she may have been boosting your immune system!

*The information provided should not be used during a medical emergency or for the treatment of any medical condition.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

D'skidoc January 14, 2013 at 03:27 PM
I hope you're not calliing yourself Dr. without an MD, DO or at least a PhD. Doctor of chiropractic? Get a Flu shot! Notice the disclaimer....should not be used for the treatment of ANY medical condition.
Dr. Jade Leasure January 14, 2013 at 04:57 PM
D'Skidoc, We appreciate you comment and can also appreciate the fact that everyone has their own opinions on flu shots. The information is beneficial regardless if your choice is pro-shot or not. It is important to be educated on the flu and on the vaccine; and we don't mean what your local news is telling you. The flu is the fastest mutating virus on the planet. The flu being an RNA virus mutates at a rapid pace. The flu vaccine is made up of what researchers "assume" and predict to be the most dominate strain/mutation. This is why people who get the vaccine still get the flu - because the strain has already mutated. Our point was that it is important to stay educated from a variety of sources, and regardless on your choice to vaccinate or not; you need to boost your immunity in other ways during this time of year. There are other viruses out there, and we can't rely on a vaccine to keep us healthy. You need to work from the inside out - and most of the natural items that boost immunity can be found in your kitchen. As a side note, DC stands for Doctor of Chiropractic. Our education parallels that of an MD, but we do not take classes in pharmacology due to the chiropractic philosophy. You can view educational requirements, along with graduation requirements for both DC and MD here: http://www.yourmedicaldetective.com/drgrisanti/mddc.htm Sincerely, Drs. Jordan & Jade Leasure
Chi-an Chang January 14, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Thank you for sharing these remedies, I shared this post with readers on our article, 'How Are You Battling the Flu Season?' http://deerfield.patch.com/articles/how-are-you-battling-the-flu-season
Pam DeFiglio (Editor) January 14, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Thanks for these tips. Your grandma must have been really something! My brother and I were just talking about how the cod liver oil remedy of decades past is similar to, or maybe the same as, the fish oil omega fatty acid capsules of today. Also, I've been looking for a way to incorporate more turmeric into our family's diet. Here's a recipe for chicken on pita bread which incorporates turmeric AND cayenne pepper. That should blast those flu germs. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tangy-turmeric-chicken-wraps/
Cristel Mohrman (Editor) January 14, 2013 at 08:37 PM
When I feel a cold coming on, I drink water with apple cider vinegar. It really works! I've always used cold water ... will have to try it warm!
Paul Thomas January 14, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Thank you for sharing your suggestion. <a href="http://kitchenmagic.databulletintoday.com/"><b><i>Kitchen Magic</i></b></a>
Dr. Jade Leasure January 14, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Great Article Chi-an, thanks for sharing! I know a lot of businesses are struggling with sick employees and customers!
Dr. Jade Leasure January 14, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Pam, Thanks for the comment. Not only will that recipe blast the germs like you said, but it sure looks delicious!! Sending healthy thoughts your way!
Dr. Jade Leasure January 14, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Cristel, Apple Cider Vinegar is great for you in so many ways! It can jump start weight loss, can be used on your hair for shine (as a rinse), on your teeth to help remove stains, and even as an after shave.... who knew!
Dr. Jade Leasure January 14, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Thanks for reading Paul. We'd love to hear others tips as well!
Pat Craig January 14, 2013 at 09:15 PM
DISCLAIMER: As with any home remedy, use this information at your own risk. No warrantee of efficacy is expressed or implied. Tincture of elderberry has been proven to lessen the effects of both URI's and flu virii. Research on Sambucha Negra, (common black elderberry), by the Israeli government in the 1990's resulted in a commercial remedy sold under the brand name "Sambuchol". If you have access to dried elderberries, (I believe that they are available from the natural apothecary/herb shop on Central Avenue in Evanston), you can compound your own home made elderberry tincture. Fill a quart Mason jar 1/3 full with dried elderberries. Fill the jar the rest of the way with 100 proof neutral grain spirits, (ie vodka or "Everclear"). seal the jar and let the tincture "steep" for a minimum of 10 days, shaking the jar at least once daily. After 10 days, strain the spent elderberries from the liquid and save in a tightly sealed jar. (You may use 80 80 proof spirits with little degradation of the efficacy). Usual adult dosage is 1-2 Tablespoons daily. Further information can be had at http://homespun-wisdom.com
Dr. Jade Leasure January 14, 2013 at 09:24 PM
How could I forget Elderberries! Thanks Pat! Elderberries have been shown in numerous studies to give the immune system a kick and help prevent and kick the flu faster!
Jan Leasure January 15, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Hi Pam; I haven't been smothered by the flu yet and that chicken pita w/tuneric & Cayenne sounds great so I am going to try that tomorrow! Thanks for the suggestion. - Jan
mimi January 15, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Hey girls don'tforget zinc lozenges taking once a day keeps germs away
Jan Leasure January 15, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Mimi; this is a good one that I ALWAYS followed myself and forgot! Thanks for the heads up! -Jan

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